Thursday, July 31, 2008


Readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) know how dug in The Report is on political competition.

The Report's big beef with former Stark County Republican chair Curt Braden is his presiding over the demise of the Stark County Republican Party in terms of fielding a slate of competitive candidates.

Another "crow to pick" with both party chairmen (Maier of the Dems) and now Jeff Matthews of the GOP is how many races in Stark County are uncontested. The Report does buy into vigorous political competition as a check on public official abuse of the processes of government.

One of the main missions of The Report is to put the heat on both of Stark County's political parties to be the best they can be. All Stark Countians benefit from political competition. The parties don't/won't like the oversight.

But the fact of the matter is that both parties and many elected Stark County politicians are "anti-competitive" when it comes to their square inch. In theory political competition is fine - but for the "other guy."

Stark County Engineer Mike Rehfus (unopposed in the November general election) is proving that you do not have to be under intense scrutiny to be effective. He appeared this Tuesday morning at the Stark County Commissioners' meeting and announced a huge potential savings to Stark County taxpayers of some $400,000 to $600,000 annually.

This doesn't mean a refund check is coming to taxpayers, but it does mean that Rehfus will have more money to spend on roads, bridges, cleaning ditches, et cetera.

The Report hands out kudos to Republican Commissioner Jane Vignos. In the video, pay close attention to the questioning Vignos does (The Report absolutely loves inquiring public officials). The Report is convinced that Vignors would have skewered Rehfus if his proposal had all the markings of being "hype" with little likelihood that hoped for savings would be realized.

Another point about Vignos. She doesn't call the practice of some public officials as being "retire-rehire at the same job." But that is exactly what she is zeroing in on - in part - with her questioning.

Judge Stucki, Judge Hoffman and Sheriff Swanson take note. Maybe Stark County voters have (in the case of Stucki/if one takes Judge Park's allegation as being legit) and will (Hoffman and Swanson) be making a similar analysis on November 4th.

Back to the county commissioners video. If citizens want to know how public officials should be handling themselves when it comes to evaluating proposals such as the Rehfus plan, Vignos provides the model.

Another interesting tidbit about Rehfus' proposal is that Rehfus is a Democrat who is proving to be highly efficient with taxpayer dollars and is "shrinking the size of government (his operation, anyway). Republican politicians have historically tarred Democrats as being "tax and spend and increase the size of government" with some - but overblown - justification.

Rick Campbell of the Stark County Recorder's Office is another Stark County Democrat who has being highly efficient with taxpayer dollars.

The Report can name a number of Republicans who have not been. One being former Canton Mayor and Republican Janet Creighton. If you can get Mayor Healy in one of his "unguarded" moments he will give you chapter and verse of the financial mess Creighton left Canton in.

Republican or Democrat is a false dichotomy. Also, remember Rehfus is an exception. Most politicians who run opposed think they can do as they wish.

Readers can depend to on The Report to hand out praise/criticism of candidates/public officials regardless of likable or unlikable personality traits or the person's political affiliation.

Question: Do you have anything to criticize the Rehfus buy-out about? Or, do you wish to commend Rehfus?

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